Madam Speaker, I enjoyed my colleague's comments. I could agree with a fair number of his concerns. I think all Canadians have concerns.
This is a massive move. He says that he could not imagine Liberals taking this move but the ideologies are pretty fuzzy these days. I would agree that 20 years ago to say that Liberals were going to privatize CN would certainly be out of the question. Privatization has been brought upon us because we have not been able to make this thing work. We are in a new league now. We are involved in world competition and we have to forget about those old standbys we thought we could live with.
The railroad has been doing much better recently than the past 50 or 75 years would indicate, which might make it somewhat attractive to a new buyer. The member categorized three things which I can see fitting together.
One was having the location of the head office dictated and I agree with that. If I am going to own something I should be left with that decision. That would make sense. As someone once said, if you are going to do it, do it right. If we were privatizing something else we would tell the owners that they owned it and were free to put the head office where they wanted to.
The fact we have said CN should be bilingual fits in there too. It was done for the same reason and Canadians realize that. It is only being honest with Canadians. I could add the 15 per cent ownership limit to the list. This is such a massive move and nobody really knows where it is going to shake out. We avoided destabilizing the company as much as possible. This affects all Canadians, so we had to keep those things in mind.
This case is bigger than when TCA was privatized to become Air Canada if we are just talking dollars and cents. With that in mind and all of the uncertainties, what is the price going to be of a share? I do not know but we have to depend on those we trust to tell us. That would be the rationale for not moving any further with it by throwing it completely open and saying: "Have the headquarters where you like. Do not be too concerned about whether it should remain bilingual as it is now. Do not have any limit on the 15 per cent share but let people buy whatever portion they would like".
I suppose it is not really privatization in a sense if we are going to have those restrictions. On the other hand this has been a Canadian owned company which is moving into the private sector. The government was trying to avoid all kinds of pitfalls by putting those riders on for now. There may be pitfalls even with those riders.